Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer's End

Today is the first day of school for my daughters.

Eighth grade for the eldest, first grade for her younger sister. I snapped this photo while walking them up the driveway to meet the bus this morning, after my teenager quipped (with a wink), "Oooh, so THAT'S what a sunrise looks like!"

I took a sabbatical from writing this summer, to spend more time focusing on my girls while they enjoyed their vacation, and am so glad I did.  This summer went by in a flash, and I wanted to make memories. God willing, I'll be able to write for many years to come... but my girls are only six and thirteen one summer of their lives. We made the most of it.

We slept in when we felt like it, rode horses, grew a big garden, planted waves of flowers and 80 little trees and shrubs.  We welcomed three beautiful foals into the world, and played with them often.  We hosted a 4th of July party, read piles of books, took in a county fair and journeyed to the Science Museum in St. Paul to take in the Egyptian Pharaohs exhibit. 

Both girls helped with barn chores, and if I payed allowance per wheelbarrow load of manure picked or scoop of grain doled out, the oldest would probably have enough to buy herself the car she's already talking about.  The youngest, she kept busy with new kittens (after joyfully informing my sister, "I'll take all you got!"), wiggling out her front teeth, learning to ride a bike without training wheels, practicing her reading and brushing her ever-patient pony.  The rag doll we made together one day last spring, Thumbelina, went everywhere with her: to the barn, to the beach, to Grandma and Grandpa's house, to tae kwon do lessons... and she rode along as we fished from the boat, tucked into my daughters life-jacket.

This day brings such mixed feelings for me; joy at the prospect of more time to myself to write, organize, and work on projects... and yet sorrow at the passage of time.  Both girls were excited to get back to school, to see their friends, to get back into the routine.  I've watched them both grow so much over the summer, their confidence and self esteem blossom... what a gift.  It is the very reason why I don't schedule many planned activities over the school break; I feel they need the rest after a busy school year, and plenty of time to explore their own interests and develop their own personalities.  It seems to work, as by the time mid-August hits they are rejuvenated and eager to resume a busier schedule.  And, quite honestly, I am ready for them to do so.  Their company is a joy, and yet it seems there is an instinct on my part to keep them home and nurture them some, then send them out into the world to test their wings. I send them out a little at a time, then welcome them home so as to feed them, build them up and teach them a bit more before sending them back out again.  No parenting expert am I... but so far it seems to be working.

And I can't wait for them to get home, to tell me about their day.

Meanwhile, I need to go buy a new coffee maker.  Mine died this morning and its truly a miracle I wrote this post without coffee. :)

It's good to be back.

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